Sammi Bray ’25
With COVID cases spiking on campus, more and more students are forced to sit out of class. Of course, sick students should not attend events on campus, but it is unfair that they must completely miss their classes.
At the beginning of the month, two of my friends had the virus. While one friend had a couple of professors who accommodated for their absence, the other had no access to Zoom courses. The latter seems to be the experience that most students have, with only a few lucky individuals having the option to log on. Recorded lectures also do not seem to be an option for most.
One of my friends, a STEM student, missed not only lectures but labs—education that can rarely be simulated online. After testing negative, my friend was able to make up some of these experiences at night. For students with COVID, returning to classes for the first week or so has ubiquitously meant working overtime to catch up.
Of my five classes, one is completely online and only one consistently has offered a hybrid model. Not all courses are adaptable to be online, but with my humanities-based curriculum, it is certainly more achievable.
Professors who are at-risk for any reason should also be allowed to have the choice to adapt to the virtual classroom. We all have practice with the virtual classroom by now. The health and safety of individuals should be our and the College’s top priority.
Hybrid classes should also be accessible to students with any illness. If we all can easily access Zoom, why not easily prevent the loss of almost an entire semester of courses when a student has mono or the flu? After all, we all pay the same tuition even if you couldn’t attend half your classes.
The stress of balancing coursework, extracurriculars, and socializing is already enough for students. Fearing COVID has been an additional stressor for the past few years, but now knowing that if you are sick you will likely miss classes completely, the stress feels even greater.
Being completely separated from the classroom also increases the virus’ isolating qualities. We can all remember the feeling of being quarantined in the spring semester of 2020. At the very least, we could still attend our classes, giving us some connection to the world.
The College is taking steps towards the betterment of students’ well-being. For those matriculated in 2021, wellness credits are now essential for graduation. Yoga, journaling, and community activism are a few of the areas covered, for example. If the College truly wants to embrace this outlook of wellbeing for students, they should consider the impact of completely missing courses.
No one really wants to be online. We are all ready to be back in-person and to move on from COVID restrictions, but, unfortunately, we are not there yet. Going online for a week and coming back will likely not prevent anything with students living together. Leaving campus for a period and returning will also likely result in another spike. We must carry on at this point, but a completely in-person option is not feasible.
While COVID cases continue to be an issue on campus, a hybrid model of classes should be available to students who need it.